Helsinki Roosters complete ‘Strive for 5’, win 5th straight Maple Bowl In Finland

Strive for 5 is no longer a goal, but a factual statement. The Helsinki Roosters defeated the Seinäjoki Crocodiles 10-0 at Sonera Stadium in Helsinki, Finland last night to win Maple Bowl XXXVII.

If you were there you would have the same mixed feelings I had about the game. The last two times these teams met it was high scoring and quite entertaining. That was not the case during this contest as a constant downpour of rain in 14 degree Celsius  weather combined to make this a 48 minute defensive battle.

Third Down

Photo Credit: FSC Media

The Roosters offense faced lots of 3rd and longs early in this game, as did the Crocodiles. The difference between the two teams was the resolve that the Roosters had to make big plays on 3rd and long. On the 6 converted third downs for the Roosters, Mic Brown made connections with various offensive weapons including Jaycen Taylor, Bernard Luster, and Alexander Wasiljeff.

The Crocodiles consistently did not convert on 3rd down, no matter it be short or long. In the second half Seinäjoki had two consecutive drives killed on 3rd downs because of bad snaps due to the weather conditions of course. Third down conversions can tell a lot about a team’s desire to win, both offensively and defensively. I believe the Roosters had more desire on this night.

Roosters Defense

Photo Credit: FSC Media

The Seinäjoki Crocodiles has 81 total yards including -39 yards rushing. That stat line describes the game better than any words can. The Roosters defense was in complete control of this game. One of the most intriguing developments throughout the game was Pekka Rantala being tasked with shadowing Timmy Thomas. Do not let the 7 catches for 71 yards fool you, Rantala was on Thomas like white on rice all night! Most of Thomas’ success came late in the second half and against zone coverage. Pekka Rantala effectively stopped the best receiver in Finland’s Maple League when it counted most. But that was only part of the solution for the Roosters defense.

Hats off to the defensive coordinator Kalle Karppinen.  The Roosters executed a great defensive game plan mixing formations, blitzes, personnel, and applying pressure the entire game. The Roosters lined up in a 4-3 defense, a 3-4 defense, a 3-3-5 defense, and some hybrid 4-3 with only two lineman down everyone else standing. They also utilized both nickel and dime personnel rotating secondary guys in at linebacker without losing a step. With these different looks and personnel the Roosters constantly applied pressure to the Crocodiles offense. The offensive line for the Seinäjoki Crocodiles was overwhelmed all game and could not create any running lanes for Steven Strother. They also had trouble creating a pocket for Justin Sottilare, but he used his mobility to prevent more than the 1 sack accredited to the Roosters.

To repeat: The Seinäjoki Crocodiles has 81 total yards including -39 yards rushing.

Photo Credit: FSC Media

Congrats Helsinki Roosters

Photo Credit: FSC Media

Five years straight is quite an accomplishment, and the Roosters organization should be applauded for keeping their team at such a high level for so long. The Roosters team is one of the most talented in Finland’s Maple League every year, but possess something that sets them apart from the rest. I would be out of my realm to tell you I know what it is that they have, but if you are not a Rooster you need to get it!

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Perfect Pervis is a football enthusiast from Texas City, Texas. Perfect currently resides in Finland, playing & coaching American Football and writing a blog about the football culture in Europe.